Choir-led Worship: A New Work is Come

Choir-led Worship: A New Work is Come

December 17, 2017
Rev. Justin Schroeder

Twice a year, the First Universalist Choir and Orchestra lead us in worship. This Sunday, they’ll be performing four movements from William Mathias’ Ave Rex throughout the service. This Sunday’s worship service will also include a ritual gathering of gifts for our holiday giving project, which you can learn more about here.

When asked why he chose Ave Rex for this Sunday’s choir-led worship service, our Director of Choral Arts, Randy Buikema replied: “I wanted push against ‘mall’ music.”

Anyone who has heard Ave Rex will attest that it is music that celebrates Christmas with attitude. It is in your face. It will make you sit up and listen. It is refreshing, jubilant, uproarious, complex, and joyful! Welsh composer, William Mathias, has written a sequence of carols using traditional medieval texts, but the harmonies and sonic impact are anything but traditional. Instead, the music reflects a truer reading of the the Christmas story and its meaning. As poet Quinn G. Caldwell writes, “If you came to this place expecting a tame story, you came to the wrong place. If you came for a story that does not threaten you, you came for a different story than the one we tell.” Mathias’ uproarious harmonies say: this is a story about reversals, a story about dissonance and the world being stood on its head, where single mothers are powerful beyond belief, where wise ones can be found in undocumented travelers, and bravery, adventure, and kindness win.

Please join us for a powerful service of music, poetry, and telling the radical story of Christmas.

Order of Service: December 17 Order of Service

Listen to the Sermon and Call to Worship:

Offering Recipient: Marnita’s Table (learn more here; give here)

December Worship Theme: Hope
Barbara Kingsolver writes, “The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what to hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.” Some of us struggle to find hope. Some of us take hope for granted. Hope is what sends a student to school, an addict to a 12-step program, an activist out into the street. Theologian Julie Neraas writes, “While hope is a strengthening force, it also lays a person open to the vulnerabilities of love, desire, expectation, disappointment, loss.” This month we wrestle with hope, what to hope for, with all its complexity, and how to live under its roof.

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